This is ‘part two’ of the winter break gaming sessions, where I get to tackle the Games Workshop (GW) game “Necromunda”. A game I’ve always wanted to play that got re-released not long ago.
Unfortunately, I was more focused on getting the game running and less on the photo taking. I’ll have to try and remember that next time!
Going in, I had an idea for the structure of our mini-campaign. Some 1 on 1 games, and an epic 3 player battle. It really depended on how much time we had and a couple other factors. We ended up each playing each other (3 of us) 1 game, and then on the last night having a 3 Player battle as our epic finale.
Games were long, about 3-4 hours each. Rule lookups continued to plague me. Using a digital copy, sometimes made that easier…as I could use the search function for lookups. But there are times when physically flipping to a specific section in the book is just quicker. Often the rules redirect you to another page or you have to reference multiple pages. Personally, I think having all the rules about a given thing in the same spot, makes more sense. Even if that ends up duplicating some text. Granted, having the 2 new rulebooks is better than 4 softcover rulebooks that were released across a long period of time. But I still am not too happy with the rulebooks as they are now. Some of the rules are quite unclear. Some of them contradict each other. Nothing is ever perfect, and this is likely better than what existed before, but I still feel like they need a lot of work if they want to make this game run smooth.
Battles went like this:
Escher (Niece), Goliaths (Me), and Van Saar (Son)
Game 1: Escher vs Van Saar – Escher bottled and Van Saar win
Game 2: Escher vs Goliaths – Escher bottled and Goliaths won
Game 3: Goliaths vs Van Saar – Van Saar bottled and Goliaths won
Last Game: Escher vs Goliath vs Van Saar
And so it begins…
The first battle was kind of funny to watch (and moderate/arbitrate). They took a long time to move into position, and then the big firefight ensued (seems to be the norm for Necromunda). Shots fired at each other with not much effect. Then the Eschers Chem Thrower (think noxious Gas weapon that jets like a flame thrower) managed to knock down a bunch of the Van Saar and things were looking bad for them. The next turn I noticed a number of Escher were bunched up and without thinking, made some comment out loud about them being ‘prime grenade targets’. Well, the son actually heard what I said for once, and chucked a grenade into the midst of them. Pretty devastating, and the Eschers had it. They fell apart, and started to run out of there.
Van Saar Leader rushing in to finish the job
Not the best day to be an Escher
Eschers “WE’RE DONE!”
The second game, I knew I better use the battlefield to my advantage because Escher have good ranged weapons. Whereas Goliath are better at melee and crap at hitting anything at range. So chosen maps were as maze-like as possible, and barricades were set to hinder the Escher’s movement as much as possible. Even placing obstacles to climb over to get past doors. It did put the pressure on the Escher and allowed the Goliaths to get close enough to get Charge in and basically the Escher crumbled from that point on.
A battlefield much appreciated by any Goliath Leader!
1 Brave Escher left
On second thought…!
The third game, the Van Saar definitely had the upper hand. The big firefight took place across a large tile and not much cover for the Goliaths. I had contemplated a blind rush, but didn’t pull the trigger on that one. The Van Saar had no qualms about pulling their triggers though. With superior range, they started to make short work of the Goliaths fast. I feigned a retreat to an area with cover. The Van Saar fell for it, and closed in for the kill. But the Goliaths quickly got in close and nabbed a kill. Rattling the Van Saar and causing them to lose morale. Too bad, because if they had been able to stick around a few more turns, the Goliaths would likely be in graves.
Last Battle. This was a fun one. I used a scenario where the gang leaders all meet. All the other gangers in the scenario are a fair distance away. I found a + shaped junction for the center and added a ‘table’ in the middle. We setup, Goliaths won the initiative and the leader immediately tried to manhandle the Van Saar leader. Botched it, but the Van Saar leader was stuck in melee and couldn’t escape on his turn. The Escher leader decided to run out of the room. Next turn, the Van Saar leader got the drop, managed to kill the Goliath leader….but a special card kept him in action till he could act. He takes out the Van Saar leader too. Like a tragic Greek tale, they both go down. The Goliaths and Van Saar end up in a heated conflict near the middle of the board. The Escher forces hang back watching the two of them. Her gang was evenly split along the top half. She should’ve been taking shots at both sides, but mainly was playing favor to the Van Saar (kids always team up on the grown up!). The Van Saar get the upper hand on the Goliaths, who have decided to bottle. The Vans decided to take the fight to the Escher. Probably a mistake, as the Goliaths were not completely out yet. In the end, all teams have bottled, and it is down to 1 Goliath and 1 Van Saar ganger. The Goliath trying to get maneuvered into range for a charge. The Van Saar trying to get lined up for a straight shot. The Goliath is betting his opponent will run before he does…and sure enough, it happens. Leaving 1 Goliath on the field. Not technically a victory though, since we all bottled.
That last battle was an extremely long one. We started at 10pm in 2018 and finished at 5am in 2019! Happy New Year! There were some real rules stumpers that forced lookups and google searches, etc. The kids still didn’t quite get the mechanics of the game. Well, the niece was doing pretty well. But every turn, I was telling the son what he needed to roll, and hand holding him. I really wanted to box the whole game up and pick it up again later, but Necromunda doesn’t use a grid, and trying to set everything back up seemed like too much of a chore. So I just pushed on. Finally, in probably the last 2 hours, the kids started to get the mechanics down. The son was actually making his own rolls and checks, and even remembering target numbers he needed to roll. At that point, I sat back and let them go on auto-pilot. I wish that had happened a lot sooner! All in all, pretty good though and hopefully things will go smoother on down the road.
A quick breakdown on our experience with the different gangs we used.
Goliaths – these guys are big and bulky and like to get in close. They were okay, but it’s rare that I take a ‘straight Fighter’ type in D&D or other games. Just too limiting to me. They are great at making Bottle (morale) checks and that’s what helped me to win the most games. It can be difficult to get them in close for melee, but when they do it’s usually guaranteed that they will take their opponent out of action. They are also pretty tough, so some weapons (like the Rad-Cannon) will have a really hard time taking them out. I don’t think I would choose them again as my gang. I really want to give Orlocks a try, as I think they will look cooler, and potentially be able to hit with ranged attacks.
Escher – women with lasers and poison melee weapons. My niece never really figured out how to use them. She never entered melee, so we’re not sure how effective her poison melee weapons were. Probably a good thing for her not to enter melee. She did have some decent range weapons and the Chem Thrower worked nicely. I think maybe she needed to wound people with the ranged weapons and move in for the kill with the poison melee weapons. Not sure. She said her gang was okay, but wouldn’t mind trying a different team, the next time we all get together.
Van Saar – militaristic gang with high tech weaponry. Even though my son didn’t technically win the most games, he should have. Other than the wimpy Rad-Cannon, he certainly had the range and firepower to take either gang out. With a bit more strategic maneuvering, might very well dominate the battlefield. I know I had a hard time fighting back with the Goliaths for sure. The son said he would definitely take Van Saar again.
What Faust Thinks
After all of this, I asked the kids which game they prefer “Blitz Bowl or Necromunda”. Surprisingly, they didn’t choose the much quicker, Blitz Bowl game. Maybe it was the sports theme or maybe they just like shooting things. Regardless, I had thought the rules lookups, gang management (though I did the heavy lifting on that one), and long game times would reflect poorly on the game.
So, what do I (Faust) think? A bit of a mixed bag. Elements of the game are very interesting to me, but I see a number of areas where I would want to make changes or improvements. The campaign element is strong, but I would also like to see the pre-game/post-game procedures heavily streamlined. Some of that I could do with some quick sheets, but I also feel there is a bit of an unnecessary glut. I feel like that with a lot of the rules. So much so, I’ve heavily contemplated adopting a different set of rules or modifying existing rules. But that runs the risk of losing the Necromunda fee and also involves a lot of work that I probably don’t have time to dol. So on the rules, I’m pretty torn. I think for now, I stick with the rules, better or worse and look for ways to streamline with quick reference sheets wherever possible. Rules conflicts, we will just have to suss out between us and keep looking for FAQs to address them.
If I had to do it all over, I think I would have started us out with gangs that only had basic guns (like stub pistols) or knives. With one Champion who had a better weapon. This would have let us ease into the more special weapons after we really had the basics down pat. The kids didn’t bother reading the special rules on their weapons most of the times. And I had to make sure to read theirs, as sometimes there were negative consequences for using the weapon. As mentioned, rule checks are a pain, but even making die rolls for hit checks is a bit convoluted. About 5 separate die rolls for just a basic shot.
I guess when I have time to start up a 2 player campaign next, I can slowly ease into it and look for areas where I can possibly streamline. Hopefully shifting more of the record-keeping and rules over to the teen, so I’m not carrying all the weight. I have some definite ideas of where I would like to go from here. Possibly adding NPC (non-player) elements and testing out other gangs. I will likely make a shift to Orlocks as my main gang when we do. All in all, we had fun and learned quite a bit about the game from it.